WHO warned on Friday that the window of opportunity to stem the new coronavirus outbreak is narrowing. Concern is expressed over a wave of cases without a clear link to China, including some in Italy in recent hours.
The head ofWorld Health Organization WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has insisted for weeks on the low number of COVID-19 cases outside the epicenter of the deadly outbreak in China's central Hubei province. This is why he spoke of a "window of opportunity" to contain international diffusion.
The situation changed drastically yesterday. The WHO has made it clear that "we are still in a phase where containment is possible, but our window of opportunity is shrinking".
"This is why we invited the international community to act quickly, including on a financial level"he said Ghebreyesus to journalists in Geneva. "However, that's not what we see", he added.
The outbreak that started in December killed over 2.300 people and infected over 75.500 in China, a figure predicted by a study last month. Over 1.150 people have been infected elsewhere, and currently it is Italy that has more infections in Europe.
The head of the UN health agency stressed that the number of cases outside China remained "relatively small", but expressed concern "about the number of cases without a clear epidemiological link, such as the history of travel or contact with a confirmed case ".
We must not look back and regret not being able to take advantage of the window of opportunity we haveTedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO does not recommend any international restrictions on travel or trade, but Tedros called on countries to take "proportionate" action to protect against the international spread of the virus.
He did not provide details on what specific measures should be taken.
Regarding the situation in China, Tedros said a team of international experts led by WHO has visited Beijing, Sichuan and Guangdong and will be in Wuhan, Hubei province today.